First of all, before I jump into this week’s Geeks Geezers and Googlization podcast about the evolution of L&D (learning and development), who would ever think that content creation would be associated with Human Resources? For the record …when I’m talking about content, I’m not talking traditional HR paperwork! But just as a recruiter is now a marketer, human resources and microleanring go together like two peas in a pod.
As the race for talent heats up, winning companies are focused on training employees. The emergence of microlearning is on. AI and video are fueling a revolution. But can it solve the shortage of skilled workers? Grab a drink, sit back, and get ready to learn about the future of learning at work.
There is mounting pressure to train both new hires and current employees faster. It’s created a shift in the way companies source, build, curate and deliver the right content at the right time. With technologies like AI and video fueling a revolution, microlearning has evolved from a buzzword to workforce development solution. And who better to help us understand what’s happening in learning and development than Dr. Summer Salomonsen, head of Content Studios at Cornerstone OnDemand?
What is microlearning? It’s no longer the 8 hour classroom workshops of yesteryear nor the Powerpoint presentations of a decade ago. Organizations are longer confident that the information presented by trainers as they click through bullet points slide-by-slide is sinking in and making a difference. Instead microlearning is an approach to learning development that experts like Dr. Summer Salomonsen and the team at Cornerstone do incredibly well. While microlearning is not an entirely new idea in and of itself, it is, by definition, a way to describe how the average human brain learns. It’s this learning process that Dr. Salomonsen uses to stir up a new generation of workplace engagement in learning.
As much as microlearning has advanced the cause, it’s also true that L&D in general is being told to step up their game. With the current workforce inundated by Millenials and Gen Z, the learning audience of today can “sniff out sub-par content in 7 seconds flat.” For strategic learning to take place and be effective, the content has to be top of the line, to the point, and seamless.
As much as microlearning best practices have advanced, Dr. Salomonsen points out that learning is not a construct but a concept. We are always learning, day in and day out, task by task, micro-bit in time by micro-bit in time. Those all day workshops that we used to send employees off to are increasingly ineffective and mind-numbing.
On Cornerstone’s end, the embodiment of microlearning comes in the form of mixed media, auditory snippets, and learner videos (just to name a few – think TED and TEDx Talks!). They focus what problems need to be solved right now within their learning programs so that employees have a sense of relief and a gratefulness for the information that is being delivered to them.
Going a little deeper in our discussion with Dr. Summer and our focus on the future of work, it was inevitable that the subject of AR and VR would come up. While it’s currently getting a bit of use within response training, manufacturing as well as hospital type simulations, is it something we should expect to see on the horizon for HR? As we discuss in the show, it’s not quite there yet. One reason is the investment required for the technology and the cost of developing content for virtual reality. “It’s important to remember that it’s just tech but tech like this continues to push our industry forward,” said Salomonsen.